Past expansions of the world's food supply has relied heavily on plant breeding directed toward raising yields, enlargement of available cultivable lands and improved irrigation practices. Since we are now encountering increased constraints in all of these areas, future emphasis must include enhancing the "nutritional content" of the world's basic food crops, especially those that are indigenous to developing nations.
These developments are made possible through the prudent application of advances in molecular biology and biotechnology research. Such enhancement can result in lowering per capita intake of plant-based food crops, ultimately making more food available for expanding populations.
Plants are notoriously deficient in essential amino acids, the protein building blocks essential to life. The amino acid composition of most plants is insufficient to sustain human growth and development. To rely solely upon plants as a source of food (as so many people in developing countries must do) requires large intakes and mixtures of plant material in order to obtain all of the essential amino acids required to sustain life.
As we know from experience, obtaining such essential amino acids from animal products creates an increasing demand on basic food crops such as corn, soybeans and wheat. Increases in animal production to meet future food needs are not viable options, at least through traditional methods.
Improving the essential amino acid composition of basic food and feed crops, as well as increasing their overall protein content, can make a major contribution towards helping to meet the world's future food needs. That advancement combined with transgenic disease and stress resistance should result in a well-fed and more peaceful world in the future.
A de novo artificial plant storage protein now exists to accomplish this nutritional goal. It can be adjusted to accommodate any composition of essential amino acids desired for any particular animal species, including humans. And, unlike many storage proteins found naturally in plants--that are only "partially" bio-available to those consuming them--the proteins produced as a result of my designs are 100% bio-available.
Scientists at Tuskegee University have put the storage protein into sweet potatoes. Several years of field trials have been completed and small animal feeding studies conducted. The results of this work have been most promising. The roots of this transgenic plant contain a more balanced amino acid composition provided by the new gene, as well as substantially higher levels of overall protein content.